Cheetah Mobile’s Live.me App Gets $50 Million in Funding, Looks to Expand in India

Cheetah Mobile's Live.me App Gets $50 Million in Funding, Looks to Expand in India

Aiming to make inroads into the Indian market, Chinese firm Cheetah Mobile on Tuesday announced that its live-streaming platform Live.me app has received $50 million (roughly Rs. 326 crores) in funding from China-based tech company Bytedance.

With the new alliance and funding, Live.me, that has more than 35 million global users, seeks to expand into more local languages and other content genres to reach an even broader audience in India.

“We are delighted to welcome Bytedance as a strategic partner for our fast-growing, live-streaming business. Bytedance’s investment will accelerate the growth of Live.me’s live video and short video businesses,” Sheng Fu, Cheetah Mobile’s Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement.

Following its debut in India earlier this year, Live.me is now pursuing an expansion strategy by setting up a new office in Mumbai and building strategic partnerships with local influencers with the goal of creating popular content for the users.

As part of the definitive agreement, Live.me will provide live-streaming services to Bytedance in the overseas markets.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Advocate: Dept. of Education Funding Materials About Islamic Faith

The president of the Christian Action Network said his group found that the Department of Education is funding thorough lesson plans on the Islamic faith.

Martin Mawyer said that, through PBS, the DOE is disseminating materials that allow teachers to quiz students on what Muslim prayers sound like and what prayer movements look like.


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The plans also are said to help teach students how a Muslim would use passages from the Quaran and Hadith in everyday life.

“How can a teacher grade a student on these types of questions?” he asked.

Mawyer said he was “shocked” at the findings and said there would likely be outrage if a similar lesson plan existed for Christianity or another major world religion.

No similar education programs could be found, he added.

If Christianity was taught in that way, he said the ACLU would “break a leg” trying to get up the courthouse steps to file a lawsuit.

The department of education said they do not fund or encourage use of a particular curriculum.


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[“Source-foxnews”]

State Cuts $50 Million In School, Municipal Funding

Gregory B. Hladky

Gregory B. Hladky Contact Reporter

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration announced $50 million in new cuts in state aid to municipalities Thursday, including a $20 million reduction in education funding that local officials said could result in school layoffs.

The announcement comes as a bitter New Year’s gift for financially hard-pressed cities and towns that are already halfway through their fiscal and school years. Administration officials said the cuts had to be made now to achieve the savings goals included in the current 2016-17 state budget.

Malloy’s budget chief, Ben Barnes, said he doesn’t believe the school funding cuts will result in local layoffs. “Certainly there is nothing about this that will force any of these communities into layoffs or cuts that would significantly affect students,” Barnes said.

Barnes added that he expects cities and towns will see “minor adverse consequences” as a result of the loss of state aid.

The school aid cuts for Connecticut’s 48 most distressed cities and towns, including Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport, are capped at $250,000, and the funding reductions represent less than 1 percent of what those cities and towns are receiving in total state education aid.

Connecticut’s wealthiest towns are taking the biggest hits in school aid: Greenwich is losing more than $1.3 million, or 90.5 percent of its education cost-sharing money. Salisbury will see its school funding reduced by 81.9 percent and Sharon will suffer a 76.3 percent cut.

“What’s going on is a redistribution of the burden,” Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei said. “The perception of Greenwich is that it’s a super-affluent community. And yes, there’s affluence, but there’s also citizens living at or below state poverty levels.”

Darien’s school aid was chopped by $368,850, a 47.6 percent reduction.

“They’re whittling us down to zero, I’m pretty sure,” Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said. “It’s challenging for Darien, like any town that drafts a balanced budget for July 1 every year and then to have to try to make midyear adjustments.”

The move was criticized by Senate GOP leader Len Fasano.

“This is yet another example of the Democrats’ budget continuing to fail our state and the need to change our approach to budgeting and begin addressing problems now,” Fasano said. “The administration has known since August that they would need to hold back these funds from municipalities. But they chose to wait until now to let towns know how much they would lose … making these cuts more difficult for towns to absorb.”

A similar budget reduction plan was floated earlier this year in which education cost-sharing grants for 28 of the state’s wealthiest school districts would be eliminated with many others being reduced. Under the plan, pitched by Malloy, the funds for the 30 lowest-performing school districts would have been spared. It was never approved after intense criticism from legislators and school officials.

“This is really horrible timing,” said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who is also president of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. He said that reducing aid in the middle of a fiscal year means layoffs may be the only way many communities can immediately deal with the loss of funding.

“Education is one of the most important things we do,” Boughton said. “I was shocked to see that.”

Danbury is losing $250,000 of its $31.5 million in education grants.

“I’m going to have to tell our school superintendent he’s going to have to cut $250,000 or start laying people off,” Boughton said.

Barnes said he doubts Danbury will need to lay off school employees, noting that the aid reduction is .8 percent of the $31.5 million the city receives.

Betsy Gara, executive director of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, said, “Towns facing cuts in municipal aid will have little or no choice but to delay or suspend critical projects and/or lay off personnel.”

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Looking for Funding? Here are Some Resources for Women Entrepreneurs

The number of women-owned businesses has risen in recent years, but they still face challenges. Overcome them with these tips for women entrepreneurs.

The number of women-owned businesses has risen dramatically in recent years, a healthy sign for those who value greater diversity in the nation’s economy.

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of women-owned firms increased at a rate 2½ times the national average (52 percent vs. 20 percent) and employment at women-owned firms grew at a rate 4½ times that of all firms (18 percent vs. 4 percent). In 2015, for the first time, the government met its goal of awarding five percent of federal contracts to women-owned small businesses.

But such gains must be put in perspective. For example:

  • Women-owned firms make up about one-third of all businesses in the U.S., but they receive less than five percent of all available loan dollars, according to a 2014 report by members of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
  • Women-owned businesses are smaller than average, employing only seven percent of the private-sector workforce. More than 9 out of 10 women-owned firms have no employees other than the owner.
  • You know the outrage you feel when you hear that women earn 83 cents for every dollar that men earn? Well, women business owners make only 25 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn.

Tips for Women Entrepreneurs

Here are some places female business owners can turn to for capital:

U.S. Small Business Administration

Loans for women from the U.S. Small Business Administration were up 18 percent in fiscal 2015 over the previous year. Some experts consider SBA loans the best option, as they come with flexible terms and low rates. The downside is the application process can be exhausting and frustrating and take weeks, even months, to complete.

The SBA doesn’t issue the loans itself, but backs loans issued by participating lenders, usually banks. The agency can guarantee up to 85 percent of loans under $150,000 and 75 percent of loans for more than $150,000.

The agency also recently set up a tool to match borrowers with approved lenders. The banks follow SBA guidelines but use their own underwriting criteria.

Grants

Money won is sweeter than money borrowed, and so before taking out a small business loan, female entrepreneurs should look into available grants. There aren’t many of these, but they are worth investigating.

Grants.gov is a database of all federally sponsored grants. In addition, economic development agencies at the state level, as well as many local governments, offer services to help new and established businesses succeed.

Funds may be available, too, from private groups. Here are two to get started with:

  • The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program awards 10 grants annually to women-owned businesses committed to social consciousness, sustainability and innovation.
  • The Amber Grant Foundation each month gives $500 to a different woman-owned business, and at the end of the year one of the dozen winners is awarded a further $1,000.

Business Credit Cards or Your Bank

Often, a woman-owned business in need of financing will have to turn to business credit cards or or a small-business loan. Choices will depend on your creditworthiness and situation. Take your time and check out your options.

The data show women-owned businesses making significant strides, which is cause for optimism. But there’s still plenty of opportunity for growth.

Woman Business Owner Photo via Shutterstock

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[“source-smallbiztrends”]